Russian school and British gymnastics

Bismillah,

We have lately adopted more of Unschooling Approach to home-ed. Alhamdulillah we do English 2 times a week, Maths 2 times a week, Qur’an daily, Arabic 3-4 times a week. There is no timing, when and how long the lessons last depends on their mood and aptitude.

Hifdh/Qur’an Reading. Sumayya still reads tons of books a week. I am seriously thinking of cutting down on her reading hours as she is again having meltdowns when it comes to Qur’an time. She has forgotten some of the surahs she has memorized previously. Incident today gave me a final push to reach a deal with her; we have agreed every day after breakfast she goes back to her room to revise 2-3 pages I set as a task and come back down when ready to read to me off by heart. We are also reading 5 ayahs a day from surah Baqara and have read 4 pages of it so far.

Safiyya and Ibrahim do their Hifdh every morning without a problem, mashaAllah. Safiyya can read the surahs she has memorized and still on Nurani Qaida too. Ibrahim has memorized surah Fatiha and the last 3 surahs from the back (Nas, Falaq, Ikhlas). But we have to prompt the beginning of each ayah sometimes. We all use the same method: Listen and repeat.

Arabic. Alhamdulillah, Sumayya can read, write and understand a little bit. She has built on the vocab and some grammar with Gateway to Arabic Book 2. We practise handwriting too, though I decided it is not so necessary at this age. I think the main focus should be understanding from reading, hence building on vocabulary and comprehension skills.

Safiyya can read, tries to copywrite and learns vocab.

Maths. We have not done MEPs in 3 months now. Sumayya attends Maths classes at RE once a week and I do follow up class at home on what has been taught  once a week. Alhamdulillah for this opportunity and a blessing as I feel the burden of teaching Maths has been taken away. But again, I dont think this is enough once she is past 7 and should definitely be doing more at home.

English. The same old way- reading lots of books and follow up discussion with Q&A. We practise story-telling sometimes where I ask them to narrate a story off memory to me. Sumayya still reads a lot. She read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe in just around 4 hours (though I dont think the content was appropriate for her age as she could not differentiate if it was real life story due to world war 1, which was a fact but then how come wardrobe can be so big to host kingdom? Children at this age do not get fantasy and it is best to delay any such books). Then on the weekend we watched the film, only half of it as it was too long. We are going to watch the next half on Saturday inshaAllah. Meanwhile she is rereading the book. She takes on a lot of writing porjects on herself simply for pleasure: writing letters, writing stories/poems, making posters etc.

Safiyya reads shorter story books but needs encouragement to read. I do guided reading even though she can read on her own. I was wrong to assume that once a child learns how to read, their reading interest will just take off and they will be flying with so many books daily. Safiyya is more interested in helping me around the house mashaAllah. She does so much tidying up, polishing and general cleaning. Everyone is always shouting out her name in our household “Safiyya, get me this. Safiyya, get me that. Safiyya, take this upstairs. Safiyya, take this downstairs”. I find it difficult when she is not around *smile*

Russian School and British Gymnastics. They have been attending gymnastics and Russian school on Mondays. MashAllah, it is the girls only session at gymnastics where they have learned a lot in just 3 weeks. They enjoy it a lot and we sometimes watch Olympics gymnastics videos and attempt to do some basic movements.

Russian school is going great too. Finally, after so many months I have enrolled them and Alhamdulillah, I am so glad I did. Although Safiyya is not much interested, it still benefits her to be in that environment where everyone speaks Russian. Sumayya, on the other hand, has picked up so much. She can read, write and understand a little bit. She has memorized poems in Russian, learnt the colours, numbers, days of the week, months of the year, seasons, fruit and vegetable names in Russian. She can say few odd words in conversational Russian and always eager to finish her homeworks on time.

At times I come so close to giving up the idea of homeschooling simply because of sibling fighting and rivalry in the house. Sumayya is always arguing with Safiyya, Safiyya is always fighting with Ibrahim and Ibrahim is always jealous of baby Saida. At times dealing and judging between them is just too much, especially if they start complaining that “I am not being fair. I am taking so-and-so’s side because I love him/her more”. I am sure this is nothing new to mothers who have multiple children within short age gap. I think of the peaceful days where I can have 5-6 hours all to “myself” without kids. But then comes the painful thought of sending them to school and I start putting the pros and cons of home-ed and public school on two sides of my scales. And then I say “Have some sabr and these days will pass”. I am having more of these thoughts lately and praying Allah will guide me to what is good.

Winter is back

Bismillah,

We have had really cold weather over the past couple of weeks. Children started playing out in the garden daily for a couple of hours in mid February. But the weather has been so down again after the 8th of March, on which date we had our big uzbek sumalak party in Manchester. It was so boiling hot on that Saturday the 8th of March 2013. We were thinking of doing the BBQ out in the garden the following weekend. But, subhanAllah, it has been snowing on and off since that date. The temperature is usually below zero outside. We have not been able to finish off our planting project in the garden. Today, after 2 days of non-stop snowing it was about knee high. My husband took kids to local library yesterday. They got stuck in snow and had to be rescued (by me). May Allah keep everyone safe amin.

Homeschooling is very much continuing, alhamdulillah.

Big S.

We do English 2-3 times a week. We do Charlotte Mason style dictation for her spelling once a week. Alhamdulillah, her spelling is excellent. I still need to teach her a lot of punctuation marks though. We try to get her talk about the books she reads. However, she is less and less willing to narrate the story. She just tells us what the story is about in 1-2 sentences. I noticed when she reads books in English and asked to narrate in Uzbek, her brain finds it difficult to do language-switch. It is at this point she gets frustrated because she does not know much of vocabulary in Uzbek in order for her to tell the story fluently. She mixes up a lot of English words to narrate the story. So, I have started to focus on her narrative skills in the English language only. And we usually do written narration as she prefers it to write down rather than to do it orally. Alhamdulillah, she loves writing. I printed out a set of reading comprehension cards. Each card states a question such as Who is the main character? What is the main character like? Which season does the story take place? Are there any sad/funny parts? Which part is your favourite? Would you recommend it to a friend and why? So, she chooses a book to read to me. We discuss the book a little. Then I hold one card at a time. She reads the question and writes the answer down. It helps with grammar/spelling/reading comprehension as she is trying to make her own full sentences, learning to use the correct tense and summarizing the story in the right order etc. Finally, she is practising cursive writing with a workbook. She is not too keen at the moment but she does try.

Maths. She is revising the last 20 pages of MEP YEAR 1. I did look into Kumon Math and other Math workbooks but preferred MEP to all of them. Maybe because we have got used to this programme. It is challenging enough for her and it is not straightforward like Kumon Math. For example, in MEP Year 1, she has learned

  • addition and subtraction using numbers 0-20
  • introduction to multiplication/division,
  • the use of calendar (days of the week, months of the year and how they rotate, how to find a certain date and see which day of the week it will be etc)
  • Lots of problem solving
  • The use of money (coins and notes etc)
  • Odd/Even numbers, 1 digit, 2 digit, 3 digit numbers, units etc
  • Mental maths- how to add/subtract 2 digit numbers mentally, counting by 3’s, 4’s, 5s, 6’s etc

Generally speaking, I am very pleased with what the programme offers and inshaAllah intend to continue with it. I do not want to start MEP Year 2 as I thought it could be too challenging for her current level. Like I said, we have resumed our maths classes after a long break and want to revise MEP Year 1 thoroughly inshaAllah.

Science. She is currently on another KS2 Science workbook learning about shadows, reflection and light. I will update in more detail when she finishes her book inshaAllah.

Qur’an hifdh. Alhamdulillah, we have been able to do a lot of muraajah the past 2 weeks. Every day I ask her to recite 4-5 surah off by heart which she does. Then she chooses 1-2 surah to read from Quran for her tajweed. Alhamdulillah, it is going well so far. I pray Allah makes it regular as we seem to be going through the phase where we do Quran regularly and progress a lot. Then once we drop it we just go into looong break after which we struggle to restart our Quran/Tajweed lessons.

Arabic. She is still continuing with her Madinah Arabic Book 1 and Gateway to Arabic Book 2. She is memorizing lots of vocab, practise handwriting and her Arabic reading improved a lot, mashaAllah.

Small S. Alhamdulilah, she has been able to teach herself how to read. She is now reading books aimed at young readers. We do not do anything except reading together with her. She does practise her writing with workbooks. At this stage, I do not want to push her for anything that she does not show interest. So, whenever she wants to practise her handwriting, I will just pass a worksheet with tracing words or a workbook. She seems to be very good at maths. I am surprised at most things she can do as I did not teach her the way I taught her sister. Maybe she has picked up from her big sister when I was not around. She can count 0-20 and then countdown 20-0. She does additions/subtractions with numbers 0-10 and she is so good at it. She does how many more/how many less activities, like how many more 7 than 5. For which she would have to do 7-5=2. So, the answer is 2 more. All these I don’t remember teaching her. I remember teaching this concept of how many more/how many less to big S and I so remember the frustration we both went through. Every time I asked big S how many more 7 than 5, she would simply say 7 more. Maybe she was too young..wallahu a’lam. Anyway, to me it seems little S grabs most maths concept easily. Even if she does not have a bank of concentration and feels very fidgety during lessons. She is learning lots of topic based vocabs in Arabic and currently finishing off Gateway to Arabic Book 1. Alhamdulillah, she started reading in Arabic awhile ago and improving. This is one of the simple exercises I do with her which she likes. I usually write down 8-10 words that she has learned in Arabic. I write these words without short vowels. For example, I write the q-l-m jointly for the word qolam (pen). Then I read out each word at a time and ask her to put the missing vowels (fatha/damma/kasra). She loves this game and it helped her to read more fluently. She is still on surah Tiyn on Quran Hifdh. She has finished memorizing this surah but at the moment I only do revision with her too. They both listen to Qur’an before bed time for about 30-40 mins (they fall asleep listening to Juzz 30 or Juzz 29 playing in digital Qur’an in their bedroom)

Little I. He has been up to so much lately. He is very much into books, just like his sisters. He is always making one of us read to him and loves joining in, copying the actions of the animals on pages (from illustration). He has started talking properly about 2-3 weeks ago. He is talking so fluently now. He can make sentences and can talk in full sentences, just like adults. Generally speaking, he started to walk, eat, hold a pen and write and talk a lot earlier. We all think it is because he has 2 older sisters from whom he can copy. He has learned a lot of nursery rhymes and starts joining in when his sisters sing for him. His favourite is classic Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Baa Baa Black Sheep. He loves Five Little Monkeys jumping on the bed, too. He is potty trained thanks to grandma. He loves drawing and often asks us to draw him a monkey.  He plays plasticine daily; making different shapes using the cutters. He loves shape sorters. He can name star, circle, triangle and square when we point and ask him “Which shape is this?”. He loves solving the knob wooden puzzles, playing with his legos and making tall towers with stacking cups. He is learning Arabic alphabet with Alif-Baa-Taa wooden blocks. He can count till 10. He has learned names of few colours. Like I said, I have not been able to spend much 1:1 time with him. But, he is always at the background when I am teaching his sisters and copying whatever they do. When we sit down to read Qur’an and do hifdh, he tries to listen and repeat after his sisters. He tries to say surah Ikhlas and Masad off by heart. Of course he just imitates the sounds. His sisters are teaching him everything (sometimes some naughty things too, like how to make bubbles in cup whilst drinking water or screaming or jumping off the sofa)

Anyway, it is late now and I shall be off to bed. Do let me know of my spelling/grammar mistakes as at this point I can not be asked to proofread or edit. Praying for a positive attitude for all parents out there and finish off with this inshaAllah.

Children and Languages

Bismillah,

We have often heard stories about multi-lingual children who can speak 3-4 or even more languages simultaneously and each very fluently.  I watched this video awhile ago and was so inspired. Indeed, the language faculty of any human being is made to learn any language naturally given the fact he/she is exposed to that language from young age. Children have capacity to learn as many languages as parents choose them to expose to. They do not have to make extra effort to learn a 2nd or 3rd language the way that many adults struggle to learn a foreign language. I have a friend who can speak, read and write in 5 different languages; she has mastered all five so successfully. I can think of many Uzbeks in the UK who are fluent in at least 3 languages- Uzbek, Russian and English.

Anyway, I really hope our children grow up as being multi-lingual. They learn Uzbek, English, Arabic and Russian. I just wanted to update briefly on our approach teaching each of these languages.

Uzbek is everyone’s first language at home. We have always had “No English” policy at home in the hope that they grow up bi-lingual (Uzbek/English) from childhood. Alhamdulillah, they are very fluent in Uzbek. Sumayya can read many Uzbek books we have got at home (these are in Latin script). And occasionally we do write passages in Uzbek. It is our main means of communication between all family members so naturally they can speak in Uzbek very expressively and at times eloquently. Hence Uzbek language uses the same Latin alphabet, they can read and write if we continue in this manner inshaAllah. I have not taught how to read in Uzbek but once they master the English alphabet they can easily read any Uzbek books as it is pretty straightforward (Uzbek is very straightforward phonetical language, unlike English). The only thing they find difficult to understand when reading Uzbek stories is the Vocabulary. Our children’s Uzbek vocabulary is limited to kind of spoken Uzbek and do not always understand the literary synonyms of many words used in books. This is partly due to 1) We do not have good collection of Uzbek story books that we can read often 2) We hardly every watch children’s TV programme or a cartoon in Uzbek. They are just not easily available.

English is everyone else’s first language outside our household. As we live in an English speaking country, they are exposed to the language the minute we leave the house. It is the main means of communication amongst our friends and social groups. So they pick up spoken English naturally. They have learned how to read and write and currently English is their main means of communication in writing. They try to write poems, stories, letters and little passages in English. They read a lot of books in English and watch educational cartoons, movies or documentaries made for children. I have no concerns at all for their English, even though they do not go to school. Most textbooks/workbooks/supplementary materials and worksheets I use in our homeschooling are made in English. So, they are taught both in English and Uzbek but carry out their written tasks in English.

Arabic– is taught language for them as it is not spoken around them. They attend Arabic classes and plus teaching at home using books and materials from the web. My husband reads to them stories in Arabic and they watch lots of children’s cartoons and TV programmes in Arabic. Currently we use 2 textbooks- Madinah Arabic Reader 1, Gateway to Arabic 1 and 2. I do not stick to textbooks only as I try to vary the number of activities we do. It is good to use variety of books/materials/resources as children can easily get bored with monotonous set of exercises and activities that keep repeating when using a single textbook. Here is the list of websites I get our resources from for our Arabic language classes

TJ Arabic Studies

Learning Arabic

Arabic comes first

Yemeni Links

Madina Arabic

Rahmah Muslim Homeschool

Soft Arabic

36 Arabic Stories for Kids

A Muslim Child is born

Current progress.

Sumayya finished the first 5 lessons from Madinah Arabic book 1 and 8 lessons from Gateway to Arabic Book 2. She can read and write. She does copywork for her handwriting and we do spelling test with most 3-4 letter Arabic words she has learned off by heart. I am not quite sure how many words she has learned in Arabic, could be as many as 200. She knows most words (nouns) based on the following topics/themes: Family; Body Parts; Colours; Shapes; Animals; Fruits; Vegetables; Household Items; and the last time I checked she was learning descriptive adjectives in her Arabic classes.

Safiyya has just started reading. She uses Gateway to Arabic Book 1 and she is currently on page 24-25. We also use the flashcards to help her reading. She loves them. She uses Arabic Handwriting Book 2 for her handwriting as she has finished Arabic Handwriting Book 1 twice. She has learned most vocab words the same as her sister: Body Parts; Shapes; Colours; Animals; Fruits and Vegetables but does not know as many words as her sister.

They both have Arabic classes daily Monday- Thursday, alhamdulillah.

Russian- is taught language, just like Arabic. But, we do not teach it as often or as much as Arabic. They are exposed to language in a sense 1)They watch cartoons in Russian 2) Read lots of Russian books for children- short stories, fables, longer chapter books etc. Alhamdulillah, we have a lot of Russian books to read

Although I have found local Russian school, I was always reluctant as it runs on Saturdays. Saturday is mainly family day/socializing day for us. We have always got something planned for most Saturdays. If we are not going out then most likely we have visitors that day. Also, we go to the library on Saturday mornings where kids join in the story time followed by arts/crafts session. So, they have never been able to go to Russian school in Bradford.

I ordered some Russian teaching materials and books for beginners last year from Uzbekistan. We have started using them recently with Sumayya. Alhamdulillah, she has learned the Russian Alphabet very easily and has just started reading simple words (not books yet)

Russian Handwriting Book

Inside

We are using Azbuka and Bukvar to help Sumayya read and build on vocabulary.

Azbuka flashcards that she can read now and learn the words on them.

That is it for now. I hope to teach Russian more regularly in the future and Arabic more constructively inshaAllah.

Writing progress

Bismillah,

It has been a few month since eldest S decided to be an author and illustrator (in addition to dentist and teacher lol). We have not taught her anything constructive about writing. We have not done any spelling or any grammar. Yet, I believe due to the fact that she is always reading books her writing is good for her age, alhamdulillah. I think she gets inspired by the books she reads and she is always writing.

She writes prophet’s stories. Here she  wrote the story of Musa alayhissalam

Once there was a prophet named Musa he was born yet And he was a strong boy Firawn showed of to him he called all of his madigjshans They threw their stiks Musa was a bit afraid Allah told him to throw his stik It turned into a big snake

She writes her own stories

Once There was a girl She was nice to everyone And her name of Aisha She always thoht inshaAllah she would go to Jannah she made a lot of Dua to go t the highst level of Jannah Allah except all of her dua cause she was grateful as well So Allah gave her highst level of Jannah cause she said inshaAllah So she said Alhamdulillah

She makes reminder notes for us and sticks on walls

She writes hadith on crafts she makes

Who shall we love best first? allah we should love Allah and then the messenger sallahu alayhi wassalam and then your mother and father

In order to encourage her writing I suggested that we should make pop out book. Choose any pictures you like from magazines, cut them out, stick them on paper and write a story about them. She did this brilliantly, mashaAllah.

I often tell them about books I read as a child. So, I told them lots about Charlie in the Chocolate Factory, a boy who was kind, honest and a boy who had best manners. So, he won the biggest prize. I got them the film as it was on sale. Yesterday after Qur’an hifdh, we watched the film together. It was the 1st time they watched a movie and I explained lots of the details. Both girls were concentrating and didnt want me to speak much lol. This morning Sumayya wrote this. First she retold me the story then when I asked her to write she asked me to dictate. So, I was dictating her words and she wrote this

image

Most of her writing is independent. I don’t ask her to write, I dont dictate or I dont suggest a topic. She does it in her free time. She really enjoys drawing pictures and writing a story to go with her pictures. She often writes written narration of the stories she has read. Sometimes she twists the story and writes an Islamic version. At first I would only say “well done, mashaAllah” to encourage her to write more. Recently I have started making few spelling corrections in her writing. I taught her about full stop too. That at the end of each sentence we use full stop. And after full stop we start writing with capital letter. She tries to implement this but not always correctly as you can see in her writing. She sometimes puts full stop where it is not supposed to be or starts with capital without full stop etc. But, I think she will learn it with time inshaAllah. I hope she will pick up lots of writing skills just by reading, as happened with her spelling. I will start teaching her constructive grammar and writing maybe after she turns 7 (if she does not teach herself by then lol). InshaAllah, until then gentle correction and pinpointing in her written pieces will do the job.

A bedroom wall decoration and the best gift for Eid ul Adha….

Bismillah,

-Mommy, why are you praying now? It is not dhohr yet?
-I know, I missed fajr this morning and I am upset…..

There is this time in England, usually around May or so, where fajr falls really early and isha prayer is really late. This is when the incident and our conversation with Sumayya took place. Nearly a month after this, she was so busy “learning her deen”  and “increasing her faith” independently.

Anyway, it was in the last ten days of Ramadan. One day she came up to me and said,

-Mommy, I made a bedroom wall decoration for you. I have put it up on the wall in your bedroom. Please go and have a look.

I went and this is what I found stuck to the doors of the wardrobe. A piece of paper tied with a ribbon…

 

And it read “When you wake up always don’t miss a prayer inshaAllah. For every one in my family. InshaAllah you will not forget to pray in the morning Satan would do wee wee in your ear so.” LOL.

 

She has initiated writing Islamic stories, letters and reminders since the last ten days of Ramadan. Here she has made a pop-out book about a boy whose dad wanted to take him fishing but he wanted to go hunting instead…There was something in there about Eid ul Adha too

 

Story about Aisha “Once there was a girl. she was nice to everyone. her name was Aisha. She always thought inshaAllah she would go to Jannah. She made a lot of dua to got the highst levl of jannah. Allah except all of her dua cause she was gratefull as well. So Allah gave her the highst levl of jannah cause she said inshaAllah. So she said Alhamdulillah” in the end. This must be the story about herself. Every time I ask her to make dua she asks Allah to give her the highest level of Jannah as well as some other things. And I say to her we are never certain of things that will happen in the future. If we wish for something to happen we make dua and we say inshaAllah. Weather we get it or not we should always say Alhamdulillah and be grateful for what we have.

 

Ok, I finish with this. This was my early gift for Eid ul Adha, titled The best gift from Allah to mummy…. She didnt want to show me until Eid but I just had to see it.

 

Eid Mubarak!!!

Bismillah,

 

Eid Mubarak my dear sisters. Taqabbal Allahu minna wa minkum- May Allah accept our humble efforts of worshipping Him, our siyaam and qiyaam and all the other good deeds we may have done for His pleasure only. SubhanAllah, one can feel how time if flying by especially in Ramadan. It only feels like yesterday, the day we started fasting and today we are already celebrating Eid ul Fitr of 2012. Another Ramadan is gone, another Eid is gone- may we become someone who is better in spirit and soul until the next one inshaAllah.

We have been so busy this Ramadan subhanAllah. We have hosted few iftaari gatherings in our house, attended as much as ten family iftaar dinners elsewhere. I think it was the 1st year for our girls to experience Ramadan practically- their efforts to fast, attending taraweeh prayers at the mosque and of course Ramadan camp where we learnt much about Ramadan, Fasting and Eid ul Fitr through practical workshops and hands on activities.

I have been much too busy to blog.  Re Ramadan camp, in Week 3 we learnt about Laylatul Qadr and and in Week 4 we learnt about Zakat al Fitr and Eid al Fitr in detail. We made lapbooks and bulletin boards (of which I still havent taken any pictures).

The girls have also finished Ramadan activity pack 1 from Smart Ark– mashAllah it was such a nice set of activities that kept them busy every day. We have continued our homeschooling in the mornings with variety of activities re numeracy and literacy.

Sumayya is always reading and writing, as usual. MashaAllah, I can see her character emerging and sometimes I can see bits of me in her subhanAllah. She is writing stories and illustrating them, training to be an author inshaAllah. We still use narration for reading comprehension but she is doing more written narration of most of the stories she reads by herself. I can’t believe how good her spelling is- she hardly ever makes a spelling mistakes. Some days we read a story at circle time- all children read a page each. Then we discuss the story and I do spelling test or dictation based on the story and mashaAllah she does really well. And when she decides to narrate the story in writing- she uses the correct grammar. It is almost like someone has taught her lots of grammar and spelling, mashaAllah. She still has some punctuation mistakes like full stops, commas etc. She also did lots of handwriting using Ramadan Copywork from TJ. MashaAllah, we both learnt so much from these 30 ayah/ahadith about Ramadan and fasting. She would read, copywrite the work and we would discuss the meaning daily.

Safiyya is trying to improve her handwriting too, she did some copywork with her sister but usually I have to push her a lot. I am taking things very easy and slow with her as she is very creative and imaginative but not so eager to do “academic work” lol. InshaAllah I am trying to say “yes” to her as often as I can. My problem with her is she is always cutting and sticking…. and collecting yoghurt pots, milk bottles and all sorts of other things in the house- Allah knows how much mess she makes a day and she does things that could drive any mother nearly mental lol. But, I know it is me, not her and this is what upsets me. The fact that I can not be patient enough, tolerant enough, and understanding enough with my growing young child….this is what upsets me. She is only turning 4 and yet I expect her to behave the same as her older sister….So, it is me, not SHE, who needs to change approaches and styles inshaAllah. I have been thinking a lot about her recently and I think 3 hour preschool thing in the afternoons would do her some good inshaAllah….

We finally finished MEPs Year 1 Practise Book b, so Year 1 is officially done. The past few weeks we learnt about calendar and money. They loved learning how to use a calendar. I ask them questions such as which month comes after which month, shortest month, longest months, winter/summer months. Also I ask them to circle a certain date on various different calendars (i. e find 10 January 2007) and find out which day of the week it was (i.e Mon, Tues, Wed). They have learnt shortened version of all months and weekdays. We also revised our knowledge of seasons and how times change in winter/summer (it gets dark quicker in winter etc). They had so much fun learning about how to use calendar- something practical and also a life skill…well kind of *smile*

Another skill they learnt is how to calculate the value of coins and how to use money in general. Again, I would give them a set of coins and ask them to find out who has got the most amount in value. They practised subtractions and additions using real pennies and 5 pence, 10 pence,20 pence coins. We played various different shopping games and there were some problem-solving activities provided in the book. Alhamdulillah, I am really happy for Sumayya’s mental math and problem-solving skills. MashaAllah, may Allah make it better and put into good use inshaAllah. She is quick at grasping the concept and thinking/analysing the problem.

With Safiyya, we still do counting 0-20 and basic addition with numbers 0-10. She is reading baby board books independently and joins in to read some words at circle time stories. I just let her lead when I sit with her and whatever she does I try to suggest few things and do lots of play-based activities. I hope someone of her age will soon join our homeschool and inshaAllah she can actually play with someone of her age without complaining…..

Re Qur’an hifdh Sumayya is learning surah Qiyamah and Safiyya is memorizing surah Zalzala. We talked a lot more about meanings/tafseer of ayah/surahs during Ramadan. I am hoping to buy ad Duha tafseer books for them inshaAllah. They are so interested to learn more about Allah swt and Jannah. InshaAllah, we will restart learning the 99 names of Allah and tafseer of smaller surahs more seriously now. They always keep asking me questions about Allah azza wa jal and Jannah, I figured out whatever we do during the day the subject of our conversations always lead to these two topics.

One day I said to Safiyya “You are always hungry” which is true lol. Every 30 minutes she keeps asking for food. She eats very little and very often. And she said

-“Allah is never hungry”
-I said “Yes true”.
-Allah never eats
-That’s right. Allah is free from all needs
-So, Allah is always fasting mommy?
-No, Allah doesnt fast because He does not need to fast….and here she was arguing with me
-But if He is never hungry and never eats then it must be He is fasting, mommy, yeah?

One day I read them the story of Sulayman a.s and Bilqis. How a queen had a beautiful throne but Sulayman alayhissalam’s jinn brought it to the prophet within blink of an eye. It was so beautiful etc then whilst discussing we were talking about Allah swt’s throne. And she asked me if Allah was sitting on his throne at that very moment. I said I don’t know. And she was asking me lots of other questions like whether Allah lives in Jannah or whether He swt moves etc. I genuinely can not answer some of their questions and really feel the need to study more about Aqidah and all the knowledge regarding HerAfter myself….inshaAllah. And Sumayya always rewrites some of the stories she has read with an Islamic twist, like she names the girl Aminah etc

They both are so creative, always making things and always coming up with really interesting ideas. Usually I don’t teach on Fridays. So, they take a notepad and pens/pencils and go out to *explore* the garden in which they spent at least 2-3 hours a day playing lol. They collect twigs, leaves, flowers, pull out the weeds, write some interesting notes in their notepad. They day before Eid I was busy in the kitchen and I send them out. Sumayya did maths work on her own, she wrote counting by 3s and by 5s. Then she wrote odd/even numbers 0-20, wrote some random addition and subtraction sums to herself to solve etc. Then she explored the weather- she said. She listed all sorts of weather conditions: windy, cloudy, sunny, rainy, snowy and ticked cloudy (it was like a chart). Then she wrote the ground was wet and therefore they would have to wear something long sleeved for Eid lol. It was nice cute chart with her writing and ticks. And she has made so many presents for her dad for when he returned from i’tikaaf. Every day she would spent good couple of hours writing letters to her father and making various different gifts/presents (again I never took pictures of these but inshaAllah intend to as we have still got the collection lol)

All-in-all, busy Ramadan for us. May the Controller of the Hearts make our souls firm and obedient in our deen amin.

 

Ramadan Mubarak!!!

Bismillah,

Alhamdulillah, all praise is indeed due to Allah swt that we reached another Ramadan. May Allah give us all tawfiq to make the most out of this blessed month, spend as much time in ibadah as possible, strengthen our imaan and stock lots of good deeds for the Akhirah inshaAllah. I hope and pray we will be able to reach our potential as Muslims in this month and spend it productively.

I feel and hope this Ramadan will be different, that we will be able to do more during this Ramadan inshaAllah. I was fasting this week and this to make up my missed fasts, so physically and spiritually feel more ready for Ramadan, alhamdulillah. I have also been able to make some study plans for myself, am planning to keep on hosting the study circle on tazkiya on Sundays as well as running the Ramadan camp on Saturdays inshaAllah.

Kids are so excited as well. We have been talking more about the virtues of the month of Ramadan with children, reading some books on Ramadan and discussing what children can do in this month. Sumayya wants to fast with us inshaAllah. We dont want to discourage her so we will let her fast as long as she can keep it. But with fasting lasting 20 hours, I am not so sure if she can fast that long. Even if she can fast till asr time (which is around 7pm in the UK), it would be good enough practise for her.

I and kids are so excited about the Ramadan camp. We have prepared lots of fun stuff with plenty of games and hands on activities. I would like to thank sisters over at Talibedeen jr, Raising Muslims, Islamic Bulletin Boards and Umm Abdul Basir for providing lots of engaging activities on Ramadan and Fasting on their blogs. MashaAllah, may Allah accept your efforts as sadaqa jaariya amin.

Today we made some decorations on Ramadan. We painted a “Ramadan Mubarak” banner, made a crescent moon that marks the beginning of new month in Islamic Calendar and a star as a companion to our moon to hang in our classroom. They practised their creativity and made lots of other things too, Alhamdulillah. Whilst they were working on their decorations, we discussed what Ramadan means to Muslims and why we love this month so much. They knew so much about Ramadan, alhamdulillah. We talked about how fasting is ordered in the Qur’an and how it is good for a believer, it makes us patient and think about poor. We should increase our good deeds during this month, try to attend taraweeh prayers and be kind and helpful around the house etc. I asked them some basic questions like

What is the name of gates through which only fasting people can enter Jannah?
What happens to big shaytaans in this month?
What time do we have suhoor and what time is iftaar?
What do we do if someone argues with us or hurts us? (we dont answer back but say ‘I am fasting’) etc

These are some of the things they made today, alhamdulillah.

Then they did copywork based on their experience. I wrote the text first, let them read and copywrite it into their notebooks. We do copywork with Sumayya every day based on the Islamic story she reads. Recently she has been copying ayah from the Qur’an or a hadith as these will be mentioned in the stories we read. She has a seperate copywork notebook and I think doing copywork using Islamic text will reinforce the content of the text more in their mind, wallahu alam.

During play time they all took some pens and papers outside. I came out with Ibrahim as he loves to spend time in the garden and saw them making and playing a story. Marjaan was author and writing the story, Dawud was illustrator drawing pictures to go with Marjaan’s writing and Sumayya and Inayah were acting out and making all the details of the story. Then later Sumayya wrote the following on a piece of paper and said she wrote that story.

Basically it says

“Once there was a man His name was Abdullah and he was gratful to Allah He told pepol what to do Then one day he was been killd He didnt now he was gowing to Jannah But he was case He was good and gratful to Allah We dont know who will go to Jannah” . MashaAllah, she only turned 5 recently and I havent taught her any grammar or spelling but both are coming along just fine inshaAllah. I believe Charlotte Mason’s method really worked with her with regards to teaching the language. We dont need to break up the language into bits and pieces like grammar, spelling, punctuation etc until they are much older. But if we are able to instill the love of reading in our children from young age, the more they read, the more they pick up on language and linguistic style, genre etc. And things like grammar and spelling develop in them naturally. Since Sumayya has started doing copywork regularly, I am explaining to her more about spelling rules and basic things like putting dots at the end of a sentence or question mark if the sentence is question. She has missed putting dots at the end of her sentences and is not very regular with her capital letters but nevertheless we were happy with her story. More with the content than the language bit lol. This is what she really meant to say in her story

Once there was a man. His name was Abdullah and he was grateful to Allah. He told people what to do (she is saying to me he told people pray to Allah alone and do what Allah likes but couldnt write it because it was too long lol). Then one day he was killed (by people who didnt want the message from Allah to be spread, her impression must be from one of prophet’s stories or a story of boy who called to tawheed from the tafseer of surah Burooj). He didnt know he was going to Jannah, but he was. Because he was good and grateful to Allah. We dont know who will go to Jannah

In general alhamdulillah our homeschooling journey has been going well. I still face some challenges with Safiyya. I think she feels neglected sometimes as all 3 other kids are a lot older than her in our class and their minds work differently. Older children dont always listen to her input and she gets frustrated. Sometimes I see in her that she really craves for attention and approval, especially during play time as she can not run as fast as others or do the things they do. I wish there was someone of her age who would spend some time with her but I will have to make up to it. I have realized that, now Sumayya can do lots of self-studying, I should give more one:one time to Safiyya and listen to her more, say “yes” to her as often as I can and do more things just me and her (without other siblings) inshaAllah.

On a different note, last weekend we had a day out at Bolton Abbey and kids absolutely loved it, alhamdulillah. It was so lovely mashaAllah, and it didnt rain lol. We had a picnic by the river, went for a walk by riverside and in the woods, climbed up the moor hills, sat under the trees and prayed in the grass. Men collected twigs from a nearby wood and made fire to cook traditional Uzbek rice in open fire. We played lots of games with kids (there were three families), kids paddled in the river, played football, sack race, cricket, tug-a-war etc. Alhamdulillah, a great day out in Yorkshire Dales. We made plans to come again inshaAllah as it is not too far from where we live. Some pictures from the trip

Alhamdulillahi Rabbal Alamiyn, once again Ramadan Mubarak dear all. May Allah give us all tawfeeq to push our limits, strengthen our imaan and make as much ibadah as possible inshaAllah. May Allah help us all to change for better amin.